Before I had the opportunity to conduct some soul searching during my senior year of high school, I was dead set on stepping on the University of South Carolina’s campus and majoring in journalism. Why not? Journalism was and still is one of my academic affections. I fell in love with the outlet of being able to voice my opinions freely and confidently without reprimand.
I started to feel a little uneasy, however, about my prospective college major when strangers, and even friends, would find out I was taking the journalistic route and say, “You can’t make any money these days in journalism.”
I cannot tell you how many times I have heard that cliché phrase. Most of the time, I would just defend the factual position that journalism is a major that can be a door opener for many different types of careers.
Above all the other jabs I took from people on my career choice, my favorite to take a stance against was "journalism is dying." Journalism is anything but dead; it is simply changing.
Being a student of journalism is one of the most impactful professions one can have. Not only do I have freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution, but this freedom also allows me to communicate information to the public that may not normally be provided to the masses.
Journalism is one of the ways that I can give back to my community; a type of civic duty, if you will. I write because I wish to inform my audiences about a social issue that may otherwise go unnoticed, but at the same time I do it because I enjoy the process.
There are three goals journalists should fulfill: educate, inform and expose. Foremost of these is to educate. What would journalism be without being a form of education? As you read the articles, you learn more and more about that particular subject. You learn the good and the bad.
You are equipped with the tools to form your own opinions after reading the evidence provided to you by journalists. Journalists dominate every social media outlet, being the first ones that you see in the morning when you wake up and turn on CNN or Fox News.
You can imagine how disappointed I become when one says that journalism is dead. I will be the first to say that as the 21st century has progressed, the way we access our information has changed. There is no denying that the majority of those that stay up to date with their news access their information on the internet or through a news application on their phone.
This change in the access of information has resulted in journalists reformulating the way they distribute information. People no longer want to read a six-page text box of an event that can be easily described through pictures and a short caption. Unfortunately, reading has found a rival in the art of skimming. Most people are going to skim through this article to find the key points of my argument because that has become the method of choice on how people inform themselves.
While journalism should maintain its traditional print routes, I embrace the fact of change in this age that is so dominated by technology. I believe in progress and welcome new advancement within the profession with open arms. It seems that I am in the minority, since many have used this advancement to justify their conspiracy theories that newspapers are evil and that journalists are embezzlers of society.
Admittedly, there is much controversy in the United States over the “fake news” claims, but one must remember that one of journalism's key objectives is to expose. There is a responsibility for the media to be whistleblowers and to provide oversight.
This controversy surrounding journalism is all the more reason to teach prospective journalists the skills they need to make a clear and informed decision. “Young people will have a digital mindset as a virtue of their environment, and will naturally help bridge the cultural divide between print and digital [media], a source of contention in many newsrooms,” writes Mona Zhang, a freelance editor and writer.
My advice to any student that is considering a career in journalism, or even those that want to find an extra-curricular outlet to voice their opinion, is to take a chance and go for it. You will be surprised how easy it can be to say what you want when you put your ideas down on paper. We need more students to enter into this field to lead an evolving industry.
I was so uncertain when I was faced with the decision of signing up for either a journalism class or a computer class my sophomore year of high school, but I am so thankful I chose the journalism class that day.